Bear In Heaven - I Love You, It’s Cool - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bear In Heaven - I Love You, It’s Cool

by Rich Morris Rating:9 Release Date:2012-04-02

This third album from Brooklynites Bear in Heaven presents a new model of the band: turbo-charged, focussed, more tune-friendly. Where previous long-player Beast Rest Forth Mouth often got lost in the musical hinterlands of prog noodling, the majority of I Love You, It's Cool is tightly focussed without forsaking the group's experimental bent. Musically, the band develops the template of Beast Rest Forth Mouth's outstanding moment, 'Lovesick Teenagers'. The synth-heavy, emotionally opaque grandeur of that track is expanded here into cosmic explorations at once trippy and poppy.

Opening song 'Idle Heart' lays out the band's intentions: it grabs you within the first second of its starburst intro and doesn't let go. Where previously Bear in Heaven were content to muso their way gradually to a magic moment, here everything great about their music is deployed with military precision, from the gorgeous, yearning chorus to the fuzzed-up, battery acid breakdown. Then, without a pause for breath, first single 'The Reflection of You' hits us. Hewn from the same cloth as 'Idle Heart' but more dance-friendly, pulsing and flowing, it's already, effortlessly one of this year's best singles, if only for the moment when frontman Jon Philpot mews "If you dance with me/ I think you will like my moves" while sounding like a limbless, asexual alien.

The following 'Noon Moon' begins like 'Inner Flight' from Primal Scream's Screamadelica, all fey, choral vocals and floaty synth effects, before turning into tough, streetwise electro-pop, somewhere between Gary Numan and 'Little Red Corvette'-era Prince. Play it over Sarah Conner walking the streets in The Terminator and it'd make perfect sense. It's matched in the moody electronica stakes by later track 'Warm Winter', a stunning piece of music which shifts from uneasy lullaby, underpinned by motorik drumming, to banging lysergic explosion, then back again; expanding and contracting but never wasting energy.

As the record goes on, the group introduce some variation. 'Sinful Nature' is a funky, bluesy, slightly proggy number which brings Philpot's chiming, effects-heavy guitar to the fore before evolving into an extended, dilated freak-out. Throughout the album, the band re-jig a few core elements effortlessly. 'Cool Light' is a brilliantly realised, twilight synth-pop gem. Playing hard electro bass off silky textures and fizzy beats, it has a body-popping coda James Murphy would be proud of. 'Kiss Me Crazy', meanwhile, deploys that chillwave tactic of using 90s trance sounds for unexpected ends, sounding euphoric without whacking you over the head with a big ol' dance beat. Strangely, at times on I Love You, It's Cool Philpot sounds like soul crooner Seal, back when he was the pop face of techno beats.

Throughout I Love You, It's Cool, the band never sacrifice clarity for the sake of indulgence. Standout track 'World of Freakout' does exactly what it says on the tin, but with an added, satisfying pop nous. While you could certainly get comprehensively off your tits to 'World of Freakout', you can also sing along, even dance to it, something which couldn't be said for much of Beast Rest Forth Mouth.

The penultimate 'Space Remains' weds military drumming to classic acid house sounds to create the album's heaviest, trippiest moment. It shouldn't work but it does. By contrast, closing track 'Sweetness and Sickness' takes us back to those early 90s ambient house vibes mixed with some muffled Can-style discord echoing around in the background. Stretching out passed the six-minute mark, its psychedelic improvisations are richly deserved and rewarding - a fantastic way the end one of the best, bravest, most surprising records of the year.

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